It’s not all sunshine and roses in the Sunshine State. According to a new documentary by YouTube’s Something Different Films, America’s 27th state is harboring a dire concern: Runaway population growth.

A Sort-After Location

Miami Waterfront
Image Credit: Pexels/Iresema Mcallister

Administered by its four largest cities: Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, and Tampa, the region is different from its neighboring states and proud of it too. But as noted in the study, Florida is changing.

Behind its reputation as a sort-after retirement location, affable approach to business, pristine beaches, and ample sunshine lurks the belief that the state is overcrowded. 

Adding credence to this belief is the abject poverty–of which homelessness in the city center is a symptom.

Home to Iconic American Landmarks

Mickey Mouse/Kennedy Space Station/Florida Harbor
Image Credit: YouTube/Something Different Films

Florida – boasting the lowest topography in the country, Walt Disney, the Kennedy Space Station, and a key contributor to America’s logistics, tourism, and agriculture industries – is home to 22,3 million people.

In the 1970s the state was a predominantly agricultural economy. Over three decades, it transitioned dramatically from a sparse population to a tightly packed, rapidly growing business hub by the 2020s.

This growth spurt is credited to a “business-population loop” that takes place in locations when desirable places are also affordable. It attracts people and business and leads to development drawing even more people and business.

Overtook New York To Become the Third Most Populated State

Florida's Population Exceeds New York's
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So intense was this self-feeding mechanism that Florida overtook New York to become the US’s third most populated state in 2014.

As a testimony to this unprecedented growth, the state dominates America’s Southeast with an economy that is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies and a GSP exceeding $1 trillion.

Symptoms of an underlying issue showed itself when the state ranked first place for rent increases in 2022, and by 2023, the state-wide average rental reached $2,128 per month.

Home to Seven of America’s Top Ten Worst Daily Commutes

Traffic in Florida
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Being a highly developed business habitat has made America’s panhandle state home to seven of America’s ten worst daily commutes in terms of traffic.

As a result of this growth spurt and the ensuing real estate bubble, the state’s age-old economic inequality problems have become more pronounced. 

The top 1% in the state earns an average of $45,167,509 and this is 39.5 times the salary of the remaining 99%.

Along with this disparity, Florida’s middle and working classes are experiencing enormous growth. So dire is this issue that it is beginning to threaten Florida’s burgeoning economy. 

The Prognosis Is Bleak

A Graph Showing Florida's Runaway Population
Image Credit: YouTube/Something Different Films

Residents in Florida believe that the state is already overpopulated and that the prognosis is bleak.

As indicated from the graph above, the headcount for the Southeastern mega-region is only going to soar.

How is population such a big issue in Florida when other regions vie for growth, like let’s say Wyoming with its relatively minuscule population of 576,851, and Vermont with its 643,077 residents?

Florida’s Organic Population Is Receding

Mother, Father, Baby
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For population growth – which is generally desirable – to be manageable, it needs to occur organically. This means childbirth among the incumbent citizens (typically referred to as net neutral growth).

According to Something Different Films, all of Florida’s population growth is due to immigration while the state’s net neutrality is negative. In other words: It would recede were it not for the 1,100 migrants arriving daily.

This leads to another question: Where do all these people come from?

Most Transplants Are From Texas

Texas Flag
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According to the National Association of Realtors, 28% of transplants are from Texas. Next in line are New Yorkers at 15% and Californians at 6%.

As is the case with immigration universally, when new people arrive in a region they bring their own traditions. This then endangers local customs and in the case of Florida, compounds its historically problematic median cost-to-income ratio. 

Other problems created by the high immigration rate are the housing bubble, the consequent soaring homelessness, strain on the grid, congestion, and increased social spending.

Florida’s Housing Bubble Made a Few Millionaires

Florida's Working Class
Image Credit: Pexels/Anamul Rezwan

Despite this rather dark prognosis Florida has its perks. The state up until today boasts an ultra-low unemployment rate (2.6%), relatively low taxes, and ever-slackening business regulations while development continues on an upward trend.

Thanks to a strengthening real estate market, property prices continued to soar and produced a slew of new millionaires at the turn of the century.

The Abyss Between Rich and Poor Keeps Growing

While the well-heeled pour in from around the country and fortify that top 1%, the working class remains stagnant, paralleling that of poorer neighbors like Alabama, Kansas, and Kentucky. 

Rich Florida Man on a Sailing Yacht
Image Credit: Pexels/Oliver Sjöström

All told, what it boils down to is the growing abyss between the ultra-rich and the working class.